Hops, one of the ingredients from which the golden juice – beer is made. What else can it be used for? What are its nutritional values and medicinal effects?
How else can hops be processed other than into beer?
You will learn everything in this article, which will bring hops closer to you.
Hops, a component of golden juice
Approximately 50,000 tons of hops are produced annually in Europe. Among the world’s largest producers are the United States, Germany, China and, in fourth place, the Czech Republic. Czech hop production is the largest in Žatec.
The first use of hops for the production of beer is already recorded in the 9th century. Previously, other bitter herbs and plants were used – dandelions, burdock roots or calendula.
Hops, the dried flower of the Humulus lupulus plant. This plant is massive, climbing and grows in ropes in a field called a hop field. Hops grow to approximately 8 meters and their stems wind in a clockwise direction.
Inside the hop cone are lupins – yellow glands. They are the source of bitterness, aroma and taste of beer. Lupine also contains acids, which we divide into alpha and beta acids.
It is also important to mention that this crop has separate female and male flowers. Female flowers are used for production and processing.
Hops are generally known as one of the components of beer that gives it its bitter taste. It is also used in the kitchen to make marinades, sauces or process it as pesto.
Why consume hops?
In addition to processing into food and various drinks, hops are also used in herbal medicine. It helps with insomnia, restlessness, menopause symptoms or hormonal imbalance.
It supports the appetite, increases the flow of urine or starting the flow of breast milk. It is also applied to the skin for leg ulcers and as an antibacterial agent. In short, it strengthens our immune system and destroys harmful bacteria.
Supplements containing hops are mostly processed in the form of powders, capsules and tinctures.
Effects of hops
Thanks to the bitter acids it contains, it has a significant effect on metabolic enzymes. Therefore, it is recommended after chemotherapy or as a prevention against cancer.
Hops are sedative and combined with valerian is good for insomnia. It also contains phytoestrogen¹¹. It is a compound that has similar activity to the female hormone estrogen. It thus prevents its lack. Essential oils are also beneficial, helping to remove oxidative stress.
It has a high content of antioxidants, which is why it is good for our skin and hair. It helps in the treatment of dandruff, rashes or eczema.
Hops do not contain a large amount of nutrients, but they can boast a high level of vitamins B6, B9, C and A. You can see the level of nutritional values, vitamins and minerals in the following table:
|Nutritional values||Raw hops 100 g|
|Vitamin C||30.2 µg|
|Vitamin A||30.8 µg|
|Vitamin B6||370 µg|
|Vitamin B9||144 µg|
Types of hops
Different types of hops are used to produce different types of beer. We have over 80 types of hops. We will list the basic varieties that are used for processing in the world and in the Czech Republic.
It is characterized by its floral aroma with light citrus notes. It has a medium bitterness, which is why all kinds of beers are made from it.
Its origins date back to the 1950s, when it was bred as a base for American craft beers. It is similar to the Amarillo variety, but has more of a grapefruit flavor. I often use them for brewing home beers.
It has the most earthy and natural aroma. It is popular in microbreweries and for home brewing. It has a unique taste and a high content of alpha acids.
It can be considered a newly bred type of hop, from 1990. It is a combination of Cascade hop and Chinook. It is sometimes called a better version of Cascade hops.
An annual creeper that grows to a height of 10 meters. It prefers sunny areas and propagates from seeds that are blown by the wind.
” The temple of hops and beer – Žatec “. This type of hop is named after this Czech city. Contains 2.5-4.5% alpha acids.
It is the basis for Pilsner Urquel beer.
It is characterized by a high content of alpha acids with a strong but subtle floral and citrus aroma and taste.
Its aroma is reminiscent of grapefruit, citrus, peach, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee. It has a mild bitterness and is considered one of the most popular hops in the world.
Called Humulus Lupulus in Latin. This is a climbing plant that grows in warmer parts of the UK. It occurs on hedges or forest edges. It wraps clockwise and grows to a height of 7.5 m.
Unlike other species, it has leaves similar to large nettle leaves. The edges of the leaves are rough, the stem is square and has many side shoots. It is the side shoots that are used for further processing.
Wild hops are used to flavor beer or to make teas that help with insomnia and restlessness.
Where are hops grown in the Czech Republic? The largest production of hops is in the Žatec region. The already mentioned type of hops – Žatecký – is named after this region. In addition to Žateck, hops are grown in the Úštěcky and Tršicky regions.
The best place to grow hops is one located in a temperate climate with rich, moist soil and strong sunlight.
Plant the hops on the south side. The plant needs to be planted very deep and the soil constantly fertilized.
Since hops will climb, it needs to be planted against a wall, fence or create a trellis system. Seedlings are planted in rows 2 – 2.5 meters apart.
It is important to water the hops sufficiently. If the plant lacks water, you can tell by the brownish, dry and brittle leaves.
Hops are harvested at the end of summer (August – September). When checking for ripeness, pluck a cone and rub it between your fingers, it must be dry and papery. You will also smell the classic hop aroma.
It is important for the hop cones to be dry enough, so feel free to let them air dry or in the dryer. If you don’t know which one to choose, read a review of electric dryers .
Store hops in a dry place against mold.
Definitely the most famous product that contains hops is beer. It is one of the 4 ingredients (barley, yeast, water) from which beer is made. It serves as a bittering, flavoring and stabilizing agent in beer.
It has antibacterial effects that make brewed beer less prone to spoilage. In addition, it helps to maintain the foam. To process beer, hops must always be dried.
Hops are added at the boiling stage, when they release alpha acids that bitter and balance the sweet taste. Read about the overall benefits and nutritional values of beer .
In modern cuisine, you can use hops as a spice. It makes food special like salt or lemon. The plant has edible leaves, shoots, and flowers, and they can all be included in the preparation of meals.
What to watch out for? Do not brew with hop varieties that are too bitter (they contain a lot of alpha acids). If you want to balance or reduce the bitterness, use a pinch of baking soda or sugar.
Hops extract – used to make skin creams and lotions.
Deodorant with hops – a deodorant that contains hops and zinc salt can reduce body odor.
Hops tea – is good for indigestion or fever. Pour 5 – 10 hop cones with two cups of boiling water and leave to infuse for 5 – 10 minutes.
Hop essential oil – obtained from hop cones, is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Hop lemonade – Citra hop variety is recommended for making hop lemonade, lemons are also added for a fresher and more sour taste.
We learned that hops are not only used to make beer, but have a number of benefits for our body. It is a prevention against serious diseases, so it should not be missing from our diet. Try using it in cooking and discover a new dimension of flavors. You can buy hops online or in specialized stores.